Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Plastics Make It Possible

Nearly healed from surgery at long last. Days after I wrote my last post, I grew another infection. Fever, chills, rashes at my incision sites. We’re all walking bacteria farms, but I appear to be an entire continent. Out of the four surgeries I’ve had in my life, three earned me a painful infection. My doctor’s take? “Maybe you should be done having surgeries.” Sobering. That fat graft from my thighs to build perfect breasts is looking a little dicey at this point.

My friend Jeanne sent me an interesting article about how breast cancer is getting a lot of attention on the back end (mammograms, insurance) when we should be doing more on the front end. The chemicals leaching out of microwaved plastic containers, cups washed in the dishwasher on high temps, hormones in meat, PCB runoff? As another cancer survivor says in her memoir, we’re victims of an ongoing environmental disaster.

I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t want to be seen that way. And I don’t want to be some Chicken Little either. But I can’t help but be concerned about the health of my children and staying around long enough to watch them graduate. Some days it seems everywhere I turn there are poisons.

This is all old news to some. I’m certainly not the first person to wring their hands. And it must be said that plastic saved my life and improved it. Catheters. Syringes. Implants. And so I am complicit. My pomegranate elixir comes in a plastic bottle, as does our milk and oftentimes the orange juice. The largest container of recycling in our house is filled with plastics. Why are we collecting this stuff, only to turn it back into the same problem?

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

I'm glad you're thinking about these issues and talking about them in a public way.

I am a leukemia survivor--a kind of leukemia that's known to only be caused by environmental issues. Benzene. Pesticides. Radiation.

After enough time went by after the diagnosis and treatment and the internet grew up, I started looking into the possible exposures I had. I found that the water supplied to my childhood home from the time I was born until I was nineteen, came from an aquifer under a superfund site that was leeching benzene into the ground water. It was qualified as a superfund site in 1983, but nothing was done about it until the late 80s.

Both the CDC and the EPA claim there's no possible way to determine if MY leukemia came from THAT benzene, because there are NO statistics about people who drank that water during the time it had benzene. The water company is claiming that it constantly tested the water and found nothing until the EPA tested the water after the superfund site designation.

Someone had to prompt the EPA to test the site, which means someone had to speak up at some time. Perhaps too late for themselves, and too late for me, but not too late for lots of people who still live there.

Someone like you. Someone like Kristoff. Someone like me. Maybe your grandchildren won't be faced with these questions because of your actions.